Perched on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway, Paddleboard New Smyrna Beach populates Florida’s placid waves with professional-grade standup paddleboards and kayaks cared for by expert guides. Whether leading beginners’ lessons in a protected lagoon or explaining the nuances of vehicle control before sending guests on a free-wheeling rental, the team prepares guests for jaunts around the waterway’s palm-lined shores. Pushing off from the center’s North Causeway dock, two-hour tours find the guides in their natural element, shepherding guests toward wildlife areas saturated with manatees, dolphins, and wrestlers practicing for the alligator bonus round at the next big meet.
At Volusia Speedway, racers hurtle around a half-mile banked clay track on which racing gurus as Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader occasionally make appearances. Select a Friday or Saturday night from the schedule for a night of multiple races in various vehicular categories, including street stocks, open-wheel modifiers, and swan boats affixed with tank treads. Fuel the high-octane action with intermittent bites of two concession-stand hot dogs and chilly sips from two sodas. The grandstand opens at 6:30 p.m. on Friday nights, so arrive early to snag seats with the best view of the track and of the tops of the heads in front of you.
Florida Tennis Center's one-hour clinics acquaint beginner and novice racqueteers with tennis fundamentals in an instructive, competitive environment. Players are grouped by age and ability, so baseline apprentices can begin to master tennis's trying techniques among those equally versed in the art of yellow-orb smashing. Glide across one of the complex's 24 green-clay courts as the ball machine serves up shots to batter cross-court with a textbook low-to-high forehand, a firm-wristed volley, or a highly illegal—but still impressive—scissor-kick. The club provides free loaner racquets to those yet to wrangle their own set of strings and the final class consists of a one-hour supervised practice match where players can test their meddle against fellow classmates and berate imaginary line judges.
The waters off Florida's Atlantic coast teem with fish whose bright, sometimes breath-taking, colors belie their fierceness. Take a blue marlin unfurling its cobalt sail as it strips line off a fisherman's reel, or a mahi-mahi flashing its chartreuse sides before bolting away at up to 50 miles per hour. At Sea Spirit Fishing, Captain Mike Mulholland and his crew supply anglers with all necessary tackle for hooking these trophies, welcoming passengers aboard the US Coast Guard–licensed Sea Spirit. Rated for up to 65 passengers, this 65-foot, custom-built party boat quickly motors out to the deep sea thanks to its twin 650-seahorsepower engines. After showing passengers how to land piscine prizes, Sea Spirit's crew also cleans the catches so anglers can make their own seafood stews at home without adding Goldfish crackers, for once.
During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.